Need some help sorting things out with my new setup. Before I get to that, here's my current setup:
Apple TV (ATV) 1st gen (silver) holds a partial collection of my iTunes library (AIFF) on its internal HDD. This is fed through toslink to Neko D100 DAC. Neko then feeds my Arcam AVR600. Sound is quite wonderful! Occasionally, if I want to hear more songs, I'll stream my Windows laptop into the ATV. All of this works great, even controlling the music through my iPhone's remote app.
So now I have embarked on a more ambitious adventure: I have decided to rip my entire collection of CDs (approx 5000) and possibly some DVDs onto a NAS so that everything is stored electronically and readily available.
I read the excellent "Ripping CDs In Style: GD3 Review" several times to fully absorb all the information and proceeded to buy a Nimbie ripper and GD3 credits for database lookups. I have already ripped hundreds of CDs and I must confess the process is both simple and enjoyable! The Nimbie is a little gem which allows stacking of 100 CDs at a time, and GD3's Encode Center is a great ripping program that, above all, provides information about errors in the rips so that you know if a disk needs to be re-ripped or is faulty.
Anyhow, the ripping part is well underway and working great. I'm ripping, in some instances re-ripping all my CDs from iTunes to make sure I get error free rips, all in AIFF.
So now that I have several hundred newly ripped CDs on the LaCie NAS, I decided to see how accessing this music would work with my current setup. Well, that's were the problems started.
Through research, I had pretty much concluded that the ATV device is not capable of directly accessing the files on the NAS. So I purchased the ATV Flash program that adds additional capability to the ATV, namely, the ability to access files. This seemed great, until I tried it. Yes, I was able to now navigate to my NAS over WiFi and pick a song, but it sounded tinny and almost as if the song was playing over itself. Additionally, it was a very rudimentary file selection. Forget about playlists, shuffling songs, etc.
Next, I decided to just try and use my Windows laptop to pull music off the NAS and then stream it to the ATV over WiFi from iTunes on the laptop. With the media service on the NAS turned on, I was immediately able to see the NAS in iTunes. However, nothing I would do would show me any of the songs on the NAS. I'm not sure if the hierarchy of folders makes a difference, but even with an iTunes folder, nothing was visible, let alone selectable. I called LaCie to make sure I had everything properly configured on the NAS, which I apparently did. The tech suggested I navigate the NAS with Windows Explorer, find a music file, and see if it would play. Sure enough it did, using iTunes as the default program to play the music through, though no other track information would show up in iTunes. OK, I at least got to the point of being able to play a song through iTunes that sounded fine.
Based on the results of #2 above, I realized that I'm missing the iTunes library file since all I had done was ripped CDs with Encode Center. So I pull up a fresh install of iTunes on another laptop, the one I use to rip CDs from the Nimbie, and instruct it to create a new library. I point to the "iTunes" directory on the NAS where I have my
ripped files, but it does seem to want to create an index.
WHERE TO GO NEXT?
To re-state my goals from above, I really just want to expand my current setup to include 1000's rather than 100's of CDs. I really do like the flexibility of iTunes and the Remote app which allows me to easily select by artist, genre, album, etc. The Remote app even allows the ability to search for songs directly!
WHAT I HAVE NOT TRIED:
MY Arcam AVR600, a sweet and musical component, does also have a network connection. Since I'm too far from the router, I have not had the chance to plug it in and see about getting music off the NAS and into the AVR. However, this would bypass using the DAC and most likely would not provide much control in song/album selection.
Also, for the same distance shortcoming, I have not connected the ATV directly to the router, although either of these connectivity requirements may be changeable in the near future if I find a way to relocate the router without much issue.
I would appreciate some advice and suggestions by those who may have similar setups to try and figure out what steps I can take to get a) the complete music collection from my NAS available through iTunes, and b) any known limitations iTunes my have in serving up such a large collection. I do want to be able to have all metadata and cover art available much as I currently enjoy it.